BNP allies stage human-chain protests
Friday, 29 August 2008

Defy police , rains in Dhaka

Staff Correspondent

The four-party alliance staged human-chain protests in the capital on Wednesday afternoon, defying a police ban and heavy rains to press for BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia's unconditional release and steps to send her detained elder son Tarique Rahman abroad for better medical treatment.

Police used batons to disperse party leaders and activists at places, while the alliance led by BNP announced a further protest rally on Sept 2 "against police bans and obstructions".
 
Hundreds of party adherents led by BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain, Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed and Islami Oikyo Jote secretary general Abdul Latif Nezami formed the human chain in front of the National Press Club around 5:30pm.
 
But they could not take their programme on to the streets in the face of heavy police deployment.
 
Leaders and activists also formed another human chain before Sonali Bank Motijheel office, led by BNP leaders Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui and Nazrul Islam Khan.
 
But heavy rainfall compelled them to leave.
 
Some 40 BNP activists later took out a protest procession in Motijheel commercial area before being obstructed by police. The protesters smashed at least 15 vehicles including one of private TV station Channel i.
 
Kalyanpur police dispersed four-party alliance members as they formed a human chain led by former BNP lawmaker Sohrab Hossain.
 
BNP's student wing Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal also joined the programme.
 
Over 1,500 JCD activists from various academic institutions of Dhaka marched towards the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh, through Sahrawardy Udyan. But their programme also faced police impediment as they reached the gate.
 
Later the JCD adherents gathered in front of Raju sculpture chanting slogans.
 
Four-party alliance leaders in a meeting at Delwar's home Wednesday morning had decided that the leaders would observe their human chain programme peacefully, despite a ban imposed by police late Tuesday night.
 
The four-party alliance had also been banned on Aug 21 from marching to the chief adviser's office to submit a memorandum.
 
Countrywide protests foiled
 
Police foiled the alliance's human chain programme outside Dhaka, though activists in Khulna and Kishoreganj clashed with law-enforcers.
 
bdnews24.com Khulna correspondent said the activists assembled at the Chamber Building around 10:30am but police obstructed the activists and took away their banners, sparking clashes. However, Khulna Sadar police chief Ataur Rahman denied there had been any clashes with the activists.
 
The activists later took out a 'protest' procession, led by former secretary general of Khulna metropolitan BNP Nazrul Islam Manju and Jamaat-e-Islami chief Mia Golam Porwar.
 
"Police have thwarted our programme," Manju said.
 
Khulna metropolitan assistant police commissioner Nesar Uddin Ahmed told bdnews24.com: "Holding demonstrations amid the state of emergency amounts to violation of emergency powers rules. The authorities will make a decision on the [violation]."
 
bdnews24.com Kishoreganj correspondent said the four-party alliance had tried to form human chains in various localities of the district. They began their programmes in Puran Thana, Kachari Bazar, Akhra Bazar, Isha Khan Road, Jahangir More, Ekrampur and Gourango Bazar.
 
Activists clashed with police after they were obstructed and police snatched banners and festoons from them. The activists later held a rally in Islamia Market ground.
 
bdnews24.com Pabna correspondent said the four-party alliance could not observe their programme in the face of police deployment. BNP held a protest meeting at the party office, but Jamaat-e-Islami formed a human chain separately at Poura Bazar.
 
bdnews24.com Faridpur correspondent said human chains were formed for some time at some places of the district. But when four-party alliance adherents gathered in front of Faridpur Press Club, police dispersed them. They later held a protest rally at the Press Club grounds.
 
Sirajganj correspondent said police foiled the human chain programme at SS Road. Activists then tried to stage the protest programme in front of the party office, but failed. Later, they held a protest meeting in the office.
 
Defiance
 

Dhaka Metropolitan Police issued a press note around Tuesday midnight banning the human chain programme announced earlier by the alliance.
 
Briefing reporters after Wednesday morning's meeting, BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar said: "Despite incitements, we've asked our allies to observe the human chains peacefully."
 
"I'd like to request the government at the same time not to foil our efforts."
 
Rejecting the police ban, Delwar said: "The government is treating us unfairly by issuing the press note for no good reason."
 
He said that the four-party alliance would continue to protest in phases till the government releases Khaleda Zia and sends Tarique Rahman abroad for treatment.

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